Corridor of Fame QB Len Dawson, who led Kansas Metropolis Chiefs to Tremendous Bowl IV win, dies at age 87

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Len Dawson, who led the Kansas City Chiefs to victory in Tremendous Bowl IV and was elected to the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame as each a participant and broadcaster, has died on the age of 87, in accordance with his household.

“With spouse Linda at his facet, it’s with a lot unhappiness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len Dawson,” the household stated in an announcement to KMBC in Kansas Metropolis, the place Lawson beforehand labored as a sports activities broadcaster. “He was a beautiful husband, father, brother and good friend. Len was all the time grateful and lots of occasions overwhelmed by the numerous bonds he made throughout his soccer and broadcast careers.

“He beloved Kansas Metropolis and regardless of the place his travels took him, he couldn’t wait to return residence.”

Dawson, who had entered hospice care in Kansas Metropolis on Aug. 12, labored for the Chiefs for practically a half-century: 14 years as a quarterback and 33 as a broadcast analyst.

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt stated he was “heartbroken” about Dawson’s demise.

“Len Dawson is synonymous with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. Len embraced and got here to embody Kansas Metropolis and the individuals that decision it residence. You’d be hard-pressed to discover a participant who had an even bigger affect in shaping the group as we all know it right now than Len Dawson did,” Hunt stated in an announcement. “I admired Len my whole life — first as a Corridor of Fame participant on the sector, and later as he transitioned right into a profitable broadcasting profession. All through his outstanding profession, Len made it a precedence to offer again to the group that he beloved. The franchise has misplaced a real legend. Our ideas and prayers exit to Linda and his household.”

Dawson spent the primary 5 years of his 19-season skilled profession as a sparingly used backup for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, however his profession took off after he signed in 1962 to play for the AFL’s Dallas Texans (quickly to be the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs) to play beneath Hank Stram, who had been an assistant at Purdue throughout Dawson’s stellar collegiate profession.

The person Stram as soon as referred to as “probably the most correct passer in professional soccer” instantly confirmed he was worthy of being a group’s No. 1 quarterback, main the AFL in completion proportion (61.0) and incomes 1962 Participant of the 12 months honors whereas carrying the Texans to the league title.

After transferring to Kansas Metropolis the following yr, the group’s success continued beneath Dawson, who was a seven-time All-Star/Professional Bowler and twice was a first-team All-Professional.

In 1966, he took the Chiefs to a different AFL title, which for the primary time meant a visit to what would come to be often called the Tremendous Bowl. Dawson performed nicely (16-of-27, 211 yards), however the Chiefs had been overmatched by Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in a 35-10 loss.

The Chiefs had been again three seasons later to face the Minnesota Vikings in Tremendous Bowl IV. Regardless of Joe Namath and the New York Jets upsetting the Baltimore Colts the earlier yr, the NFL was nonetheless seen as superior and the Vikings got here in as a double-digit favourite.

However the Kansas Metropolis protection dominated and Dawson performed a sometimes robust sport (12-of-17, 142 yards), together with a 46-yard landing cross to Otis Taylor within the third quarter that sealed the 23-7 victory.

Dawson was chosen because the second-team quarterback, behind Namath, on the AFL’s all-time group in 1970.

He was elected to the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame as a participant in 1987 and as a broadcaster in 2012, following a TV and radio profession that started as a sports activities anchor on Kansas Metropolis TV in 1966 whereas he was nonetheless taking part in for the Chiefs, oftentimes going to KMBC after follow to broadcast that evening’s sports activities report. Dawson went on to grow to be an analyst for video games on NBC in addition to a longtime host of HBO’s “Contained in the NFL.”

After a collection of well being points that included prostate most cancers and quadruple coronary heart bypass surgical procedure, Dawson retired from broadcasting in 2017 following 33 years because the Chiefs’ radio colour analyst.

Dawson remained a beloved determine in Kansas Metropolis, though he in the reduction of on public appearances a number of years in the past when his well being started to fail him. However he all the time had time for followers, whether or not it’s {a photograph} or signature, the latter typically on an iconic black-and-white photograph from halftime of that first Tremendous Bowl: the exhausted quarterback, white uniform caked with mud, sitting on a folding chair with a cigarette in his mouth and a bottle of Fresca at his toes.

It completely captured a time and place. And it completely captured a person who embodied poise and self-assurance.

Dawson was born June 20, 1935, the ninth of 11 kids who stuffed the home of James and Annie Dawson within the blue-collar manufacturing city of Alliance, Ohio. He was a three-sport athlete at Alliance Excessive College, setting data in soccer and basketball, and turned his success on the gridiron right into a scholarship provide from Purdue.

There, Dawson led the NCAA in passing effectivity as a sophomore whereas additionally taking part in protection and kicking, and he helped lead a memorable upset of Notre Dame throughout the 1954 season. By the top of his faculty profession, Dawson had thrown for greater than 3,000 yards regardless of taking part in in an period that favored ground-and-pound soccer, and was chosen by the Steelers within the first spherical of the 1957 draft.

He finally discovered success with the Chiefs, and when he hung up his helmet after the 1975 season, Dawson retired with 28,711 profession passing yards and 239 touchdowns. All however 204 yards and two touchdowns got here with the Chiefs franchise.

Dawson was married to his highschool sweetheart, Jackie, from 1954 till her demise in 1978, and collectively that they had two kids. His second spouse, Linda, remained by his facet when Dawson entered hospice care.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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